Earlier this month, it was announced by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) that the new bicycle lane from Taman Melati, Setapak to Kampung Baru is to be fully completed by 2020.
DBKL executive director (planning) Datuk Mohd Najib Mohd added that this new bicycle lane could be an alternative mode of transport for those travelling to and from work, as it would only take 20 minutes to commute between the areas.
However, Malaysians seem to be divided over this upcoming bicycle lane after the New Straits Times revealed that among 2,400 people who answered their poll, 50.2 per cent said that they would not use it, while 49.8 per cent said that they would.
According to NST’s report, some of Malaysians’ main concerns that stop them from cycling include safety, dangerous drivers, narrow roads, and the hot weather.
However, a Dutch cyclist based in Penang named Peter Van Der Lans begs to differ, as he believes that it’s Malaysians’ mindsets prevents them from cycling more, and not the weather.
“Malaysia is extremely car-oriented. More than anywhere else in the world. Take, for example, Penang. People say you can’t have bicycle lanes, bus lanes or tram lanes because the streets are too small. The streets are not too small. If you look at the Hague, for example, the government simply made the lanes.”
“Is cycling viable in this country? Absolutely!”
“In Holland, it’s much colder. When I was a kid, I cycled to school, and it didn’t matter what sort of weather. If it was 2 degrees or 4 degrees, if it was windy or if there was ice on the road, it didn’t matter, you just cycled. Half the kid population in the Netherlands still cycle to school. No matter if the weather is wet, hot or cold.”
“It’s a mindset thing. People here in Malaysia, they’re made of sugar. They can’t handle anything. They have no guts. They’re not growing up with any form of resistance.”
He did agree that safety was also a problem as motorists often do not follow traffic laws, making the roads dangerous for children to cycle to school. However, he stated that there is always a way around obstacles like the hot weather, saying,
“What I find in Malaysia is that people don’t even want to try. They say, ‘No, this is not for us’.”
In response to this report, Malaysian netizens took to social media to share their opinions on the matter. While many didn’t agree with Van Der Lans’ opinions, others did agree that mindset does play a huge role.
Your mother la mindset. pic.twitter.com/cJ90pkX1u5
— Dr Jason Leong (@DrJasonLeong) May 29, 2019
Actually not because Malaysia weather too hot, Malaysian drivers/motorcyclist laa too hot headed, they do wrong n then they shout at others n break their windshield, imagine you cyclist, gone laa.
— T⎊ny Stark Is The Real MVP (@sithlord_sylar) May 30, 2019
Cycling to work more specifically office not suitable for our weather… ask an angmoh about this many years back, they like our weather for vacationing, not for working.
— klgan (@1klgan) May 29, 2019
My husband cycles to office, so does my sister’s father in law. It IS possible. Infra is important and would help but really, it’s the mindset. We’ve met Indonesians living in Jakarta cycling for >30 km to work every day and I would assume their roads are more congested, so yeah.
— Fatimah Zaini (@fatimahzaini) May 30, 2019
Like what the Dutch cyclist said, it’s all in the mindset. My octogenarian uncles are still cycling, albeit in Seremban. It’s the job of the councils to provide a safe path to commute in it. It’s not the weather, get it. And don’t only speak in the context of KL. M’sia is big.
— Derek T A Tan (@derektan1218) May 29, 2019
While some did point out that those cycling to work could shower at their place of work, others stressed that not all offices had amenities like that.
Org yg cakap boleh mandi lepas smpai office is a bunch of privileged people. How many of us hv shower at the office? Some said my gardener cycle to work every day. 🤦🏻♂️
— Mamato Marcello (@Mamato_Marcello) May 30, 2019
Check out NST’s full report here!
What are your thoughts? Is it more about our mindset instead of the weather and safety when it comes to not wanting to cycle more in Malaysia? Let us know in the comments section!
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